The Trace is hiring a local Chicago reporter to work full-time starting in the fall or winter of 2021. This position will be based in Chicago, and the reporter will have the option to work in our Chicago office or from home.
As the only media organization dedicated to reporting on gun violence, The Trace uses the power of nonprofit journalism to improve public understanding, increase accountability, and identify solutions that can lead to safer homes and communities for all. Many of our stories are co-published with partner organizations, ranging from national magazines to regional newspapers and neighborhood outlets. For more on our mission, see our About page.
As a local reporter at The Trace, you’ll find and report stories that are fueled by and accountable to our primary audience: people in Chicago affected by gun violence. This role might be particularly appealing for someone looking to flex and grow their reporting skills while helping shape something new, The Trace’s burgeoning local reporting initiative. The overarching goal is to find and land watchdog and community-driven stories that inspire change.
You can expect to publish 15-25 stories a year about the root causes and effects of gun violence in Chicago. They can run the gamut from accountability pieces that question people in power or long-running programs to explanatory pieces, narrative stories, and shorter news stories that other outlets might miss, but that are still important to our readers, such as the city’s transparency in its violence prevention work. We also expect you to regularly file records requests, cultivate and maintain sources with a variety of viewpoints on this challenging beat, represent The Trace within the community and in media appearances, and work as a collaborative member of our local team.
Below are examples of stories that The Trace has published recently:
- As Suicides Among Black Residents Continue to Climb, Chicago Officials Sound the Alarm
- Chicago’s Gun Violence Plan Looks Good on Paper, Prevention Leaders Say. Can the City Pull It Off?
- Illinois Has a Program to Compensate Victims of Violent Crimes. Few Applicants Receive Funds.
- In Chicago’s Roseland Neighborhood, a Mix of Grief and Perseverance
While we’re proud of these pieces and think they represent some of our best work out of Chicago, we’re also open to trying types of local and community-driven reporting we haven’t done before.
The ideal candidate will have:
- At least four years of reporting experience, with some of it serving a local audience.
- Clips that show the ability to dig, but to be clear, you do NOT have to have the word “investigative” anywhere in your current or previous titles.
- Deep local knowledge of Chicago, its neighborhoods, its power brokers, and its media landscape.
Additionally, experience with the following is not required, but would be helpful:
- Covering crime, public safety, or the root causes of gun violence in some way.
- Some mastery of a language other than English, preferably Spanish.
- Covering research and data in a way that can distinguish the wheat from the chaff.
- Engagement journalism.
Compensation and benefits
Salary will vary depending on the candidate, but the general range is approximately $65,000 to $80,000. This full-time position includes no-cost medical, dental, and vision insurance; 12 weeks of fully paid family leave; a 401(k) with employer matching; four weeks of vacation time, plus 10 sick days and a holiday week in December; and professional development resources such as funding to attend conferences.
As noted, the majority of our staffers are based in New York, but we also have team members in Washington, D.C., Chicago, California, and elsewhere.
At The Trace, we are committed to producing journalism that is equitable and inclusive. We welcome applications from journalists of all experience levels and strongly encourage applications from people of color, women, people with disabilities, and LGBTQ+ people.
We know that all of the attributes and interests listed here won’t apply to all candidates. If you think you’d be a great fit and have skills and qualifications not mentioned in this listing, we encourage you to submit an application and tell us why you’d thrive in this role.
How to apply
TO APPLY: Fill out the application form here. Please include a resume. In lieu of a cover letter, we ask that you answer a few questions about your experience and goals. We’ll also ask you for a few clips.
DEADLINE: We will accept applications until Sunday, October 10. We may begin reviewing applications sooner, however, and will reach out to you directly if we like your application.
QUESTIONS? Email us at [email protected] with questions about the role or how to apply. Please do not reach out to check on the status of your application before we have contacted you; we will do our best to respond to candidates in a timely manner.